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Showing posts from 2016

Jesus the New Temple, Seeing Verses Perceiving?

Mark 13:1-13
If you knew you were about to die, how would you prepare your children?  If I knew I was going to prison for my faith, what would I say to you?  If I knew that you because of me, would face trial and suffering, what would I say to you. 
I might prepare you for what you will face.  I might alert you to various games and challenges you will face.  In pre-teaching, I might give you strength and help you tune in so that you will remain true to God.     
Jesus is in Jerusalem, he knows he is about to die.  He has said to his disciple three times as they were on the way, that he would be handed over to the authorities, accused, tried and hung on a cross to die.  He knew the end was near.  I can see his heart, he has many things to share with his disciples and he knows they too will face a similar fate.  He longs for them to see, to hear, to understand, to be able to endure the challenges that are before them and remain faithful to God.  
In the 1st century culture it was commonly t…

The Scent of Denial and The Restoration of Peter and 3 Important Calls

Memory... it's a funny thing.  Memories are often triggered by places, by smells, facial expressions, various stimuli that can trigger a painful or traumatic memory.  Just driving by a building within which a painful even occurred pokes at pain, failure, loss, a whole number of emotions might come to the surface or one's muscle memory might react in panic or fear as subconscious memories are expressed in very physical responses.  
I don’t know what Peter felt like after he denied Jesus.  But scripture says he went out and wept bitterly.  We can speculate that he felt enormous shame, loss of what was, and what he believed the Jesus band was about.  
More…,Peter was always a bit on the arrogant side… boldly courageous, the first to try things... to step out of the boat and walk on water.  He was the first to understand that Jesus was the Messiah.  He was marked out as a leader in the group—overtly fearless and passionate about his love for Jesus.  
I believe that after his denial, …

Peter, In Need of Restoration: A First Person Account

I remember vividly the the chaotic capture and surrender of Jesus to the authorities... how I had tried to fight them off with a sword. I remember the smokey scent of the fire in the courtyard near Jesus trial. Etched in my memory were my well-intended words, “Lord, I will go to prison with you and even die with you.” But they were the words on an untested man.
I was unaware of the healing I needed... unaware that in the act of Jesus following, I would find myself without the maturity and inner resources to actually live out the proclamations of my own heart.
As I stood beside the fire in the courtyard, a servant girl suggested that “I” was one of the men who was with Jesus. I denied my teacher, the One God sent... before a servant girl who had no authority to arrest me. Heck, Women couldn't even testify in court! When it really mattered, I failed to live up to my promise that I would follow Jesus to the death. I buckled before a lowly servant girl.
When the cock crowed and I had …

Resurrected Jesus on the Road to Emmaus: Luke 24:13-35

What does it mean for us to say that Jesus is alive?

Christians believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead. We teach this, sing about, celebrate it every year. But where do we see Jesus alive?

Fast forward to Pentecost and you will notice that when Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to many real people who lived in the first century—500 to be exact. When he ascended into heaven he reminded them that he would pour out his Spirit on them and they would be his witnesses—or his agents in the world. They would tell his story and continue walking in the way of Jesus in the world.

Jesus is alive… how do we notice Jesus in our world?  That is what the author of Luke is telling in the account he wrote.

So what is the Story leading up to this story: The journey to Jerusalem and suffering began in Luke 9:51, Jesus has traveled with his face set toward Jerusalem. Now the crucifixion is passed and some women have gone to the tomb of Jesus to place spices on his body. Instead of en…

Eye Witnesses To The Resurrection of Jesus

I like Crime shows. I find it fascinating to see the story pieced together by examining the evidence and hearing the testimony of those who knew something about the crime. Investigators take a look at the evidence, which leads to clues, which leads to witnesses who tell their story. In the end what happened emerges and we get the picture of what took place.

That’s what we are going to do today. We will examine the witnesses in the scripture so you can grasp that this book we call the Bible isn’t just a manual or rule book, but a story about people who encountered God--witnesses so to speak of the risen Christ.

The witnesses of John 20 tell the story of how they each experienced the resurrection of Jesus. In John we hear the words about witness and testimony often. It was customary for a truth to be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. In John 20, we have more than two or three as the author of John seeks to establish the truth of his book through the testim…

What kind of King? Clues from Luke 19:28-44

Palm Sunday is the time of year we celebrate the procession into Jerusalem--a royal procession declaring that Jesus is king.  But what kind of king is Jesus?

There are a number of clues in the text that can give us insight into just what kind of King Jesus is.

Our text is  Luke 19:28-44.

The first clue is that Jesus asks his disciples to find him a donkey or a young colt.  The symbolism in this choice of how to ride into Jerusalem was deliberate and calculated--designed to reveal just what kind of king Jesus would be.  Most kings would ride in to their royal city on a horse with his army in tow.  But a king who rides in on a donkey is one who would bring peace.

He did not come with a sword, or an army or on a horse nor did he come in a chariot.  Jesus came riding on a donkey in humility defining himself as a king of peace.

Our second clue is the emotion displayed by Jesus.  I find it interesting that he is not riding in with a look of triumph or even with a joyous expression welc…

Marks of Discipleship in John 12:1-11

1 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. 4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. 7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” 9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man …

The Older Brother of Luke 15 and the Ministry of Reconciliation

It's most interesting to me that in the lectionary, the story of Luke 15 is pared with Paul's letter to the 1 Corinthians... chapter 5:11-21 on the ministry of reconciliation.  It makes sense as one of the roles given to the people of God was to bring the light of God to the rest of the world.  It was also a common role for an elder brother loyal to his father's household.  This is, of course why Jesus is telling the story of the loving father and the two lost sons.  It's clear from our former discussions of the father, that the kind of God that Jesus reveals is one who graciously awaits the return of his younger son who has wandered away.  He returns home with the idea that it is better to be a slave in his fathers house than hungry in a far country.  The older brother also considers himself a slave... reminding the father that while his younger brother has been squandering his inheritance, he has been slaving away on the family farm.  But the God Jesus is revealing …

Dominican Republic 2016, Part Two, Tale of Two Sons and an Amazing Father

As I have already written, the mission of God in Christ has been to bring healing to the world reversing the effects of the fall through the coming of Jesus and the inauguration of the Kingdom.  The Kingdom is God's loving reign--when Jesus became King reigning in the hearts of his subjects.  One of the biggest reasons we cannot effectively participate in the Kingdom of God has to do with our pictures of God.  And how we perceive others that God also loves.

In Luke 15, we see the Pharisees questioning why Jesus would eat with tax collectors and sinners.  And he engages in a series of stories about God and what God is like.

Back to the Dominican Republic.  Sunday evening, we were being sent out two by two and I thought I would just bring the same message as I had brought that morning.  However, my partner Shirlee Taki, felt a strong impression that Condemnation was a big concern at the little church we were visiting.  Wow... I wondered... what I have to say really doesn't fit…

The Great and Holy Call

A FB friend recently asked me why I am a peace and justice Charismatic Christian--or a Holy Spirit Activist.  I've pondered that for a few weeks and here is where my heart is.  God's people, right from the beginning, have been given a great and holy call to be agents of God and image God in the earth.  So I will begin where the Bible begins, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

I find in interesting that God did not create humans first and let them float around while he finished the rest of his creation.  But that God was intentional about the sequence of creation.  Before he placed wildlife in the garden, he created all that would sustain his creatures.  Finally, when all was done, he placed the first humans in the garden and asked them to tend it, govern it, produce fruit.  He asked them to create families who would create communities, who would create nations.  Then God asked them to bear his image.

What does all of that mean?  If we look at this creati…